Editor, Policy Studies Journal
Professor, School of Government and Public Policy, University of Arizona
This issue of the Policy Studies Journal presents an excellent set of articles that
reflect the mission of the journal, a mission that encompasses the depth and breadth
of cutting edge research on policy making processes. The first three articles address
environmental justice reflecting a further accumulation of knowledge on a critical
topic. Environmental justice has been a consistent theme in the journal for over 20
years, and these three manuscripts reflect the forefront of research. The lead article
by Konisky and Reenock (2018) examines the incentives of regulators to engage in
two forms of enforcement activities—political, in which regulators respond to mobi-
lized interests, and instrumental, in which regulators respond to environmental risk.
Using an original dataset that combines risk data from the EPA, census tract commu-
nity data, and facility level enforcement data, they find that state regulators use both
types of enforcement activities, but unevenly among communities. African American
and Hispanic communities receive less regulatory attention, and, in particular, His-
panic communities that lack advocacy groups receive less attention, regardless of the
environmental risks they face.
Teodoro, Haider, and Switzer (2018) address enforcement of and compliance
with the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act on American Indian Tribal
lands by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. When the major U.S. environ-
mental laws were adopted in the 1970s, they did not include American Indian Tribes.
This situation changed in the 1990s, but tribal experiences surrounding environmental
monitoring and enforcement are greatly understudied. As the authors note, this is the
first large-scale environmental justice study addressing American Indian tribes that
they are aware of. In line with prior environmental justice research, they find that
tribal facilities experience less rigorous enforcement and are more likely to violate the
laws protecting water quality compared to similar nontribal facilities. As the authors
note, why less enforcement and less compliance occurs on tribal lands is not clear.
However, they lay out a series of testable research questions that deserve attention.
2018 Policy Studies Organization
The Policy Studies Journal, Vol. 46, No. 1, 2018